Commonwealth starts secret talks on who will succeed Queen

Britain's Queen Elizabeth speaks to Prime Minister David Cameron during a reception in Buckingham Palace to mark the the Queen's 90th Birthday in London Britain

This group of high-ranking commonwealth leaders consisting of seven former ministers and senior officials is said to be beginning allegedly "secret" meetings in order to discuss the future of the Commonwealth and its governing methods.

The group is expected to report to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in April, which is likely to be the last that the 91-year-old monarch will attend.

A Commonwealth source, speaking to The Independent, denied that the issue of Queens successor would be discussed at todays meeting, chaired by Anote Tong, former President of Kiribati.

At her Coronation, which took place in 1953, the Queen was also crowned 'Head of the #Commonwealth,' This is not a hereditary title, however, meaning that#prince charles will not necessarily assume this position when his mother either dies or abdicates from the throne. It has 53 member states-many of them formerly part of the British Empire, reports theTelegraph, with Rwanda most recently joining in 2009-that are home to 2.4 billion people, but only 15 of them will eventually have Charles as their head of state.

The Queen, who turns 92 in April, was proclaimed head of the Commonwealth at her coronation when she was head of state in...

The agenda for the all-day meeting, seen by the BBC, says there will be a discussion of "wider governance considerations" which is said to be code for the succession.

In a statement, it maintained that the issue of succession was not on its agenda.

Britain's and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall reacts to the wind while sitting next to Prince Charles during an official welcome ceremony at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in Iqaluit Nunavut Canada
REUTERS Chris Wattie Prince Charles and Camilla Laugh at Traditional Inuit Singers in Canada

There has been some previous talk of electing a ceremonial leader rather than appointing Prince Charles, although it is widely expected the latter will happen. "Should it always be the heir to the throne or Prince Charles himself?" Buckingham Palace says the issue is a matter for the Commonwealth itself to resolve.

According to the documents that were seen by the BBC, the Group's discussions will be confined to "bureaucratic issues" and an insider suggested: "the question of succession.will come up".

They have set up a "high level group" to look at the way the worldwide organisation is governed, with the group set to review how the Commonwealth is run by its secretariat and governors.

"There are various formulas being played with", a source told the news service. "Is it the person or the position?"

The spokesman further members may be appointed to the group, which operates independently of the Secretariat. Its remit will reportedly include how the Secretariat is run and funded, how a new Secretary-General is chosen, and the balance of power between governors and the executive committee.

The Prince has previously represented the Queen at CHOGM, with two major tours to Commonwealth countries in the previous year and a lifetime of relationship with its leaders.

In 2013, Prince Charles even led the British delegation during the CHOGM in Sri Lanka, with the permission of the Queen.

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